Give us a sense of your journey, of how you ended up starting the Ms. Brown?
It was during my time working at Vogue and then Vogue Living that I found myself looking for an all-natural, yet still really beautiful and special, product for washing my clothes. Because of my upbringing on a merino sheep farm on Kangaroo Island I’ve always preferred wearing natural fibres and caring for them without unnecessary chemicals - especially not dry-cleaning. I realised there was an opportunity to create a product that was not only Australian made and entirely natural but that also incorporated beautiful design. From there the Wool & Cashmere Wash then the Delicate Wash was born.
"Because of my upbringing on a merino sheep farm... I’ve always preferred wearing natural fibres and caring for them without unnecessary chemicals."
Where do you look to for inspiration for new products, fragrances etc?
From the beginning it was about creating products that I, and my friends and family, wanted to use and it has continued this way. The Wool & Cashmere Wash fragrance is not only practical for deterring moths on knitwear but the scent of Eucalyptus takes me back to my childhood, when my mother used the fabulous oil to clean everything in our home. When developing products I also think about the areas where we would most benefit from removing toxic ingredients - which is why hand wash and hand cream came next, as we use this multiple times throughout the day. Our customers have also become fantastic advocates and are wonderful at letting us know what they want next from Ms BROWN. Lastly, fashion is a big source of inspiration for me and Australian designers have been great at letting us know what their customers need to take care of their garments. We collaborated with Australian label Matteau last year on a Swimwear specific product and for the fragrance, were inspired by the plants and scents of the beaches of Noosa, Queensland where their founders grew up.
What's in your little black book for Sydney?
How long have you got?! Sydney is such a fabulous city to live, especially to me who didn’t grow up here. I love discovering new places to visit and eat out, so my list is long and I love to share it with family and friends visiting from interstate and overseas. Here’s a very edited version.
"Stunning 1930s-inspired interiors that hit the perfect note between special and relaxed."One of my favourite ways to spend a Saturday is to drive out of the city (or you can also catch a seaplane!) and have lunch at the beautiful Bert’s in Newport. Stunning 1930s-inspired interiors that hit the perfect note between special and relaxed - just like the European brasserie-style menu. Follow this with a swim at one of the nearby beaches - beautiful and much less crowded than Sydney’s eastern beaches - which are still also worth a visit!
Sydney does Italian well and my favourites are Buffalo Dining Club - where they serve Cacio e Pepe from the giant wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano, Alberto’s Lounge and 10 William Street in Paddington. All three venues are small (so put your name down early and go for a drink at a nearby bar, I can recommend Charlie Parkers on Oxford Street) with great atmosphere and perfect spots for a date or night out with friends.
For brunch I love Jackie's in Paddington (get the parmesan scrambled eggs), any of the Bills restaurants (we are lucky to have one very close to the Ms BROWN studio which has recently been renovated and has fabulous interiors) and Luxe in Woollahra - on leafy Queen Street, just down the road from where we live, and in a courtyard inside the lovely pink building, Queen's Court.
Once our baby is born I’m looking forward to going back to Continental Delicatessen in Newtown for a cocktail and some cured meats and cheeses. It’s a really fun and unique bar/restaurant with a great vibe - owners Elvis, Joe and their team will make sure you have a good time.
Where do you see the brand developing to?
Ultimately, we plan to continue expanding the Ms BROWN collection to enable us to eventually remove toxic ingredients from our lives and routines entirely. We are extremely stringent about the ingredients we are willing to include in our products while also ensuring they are beautiful to use and really work. Because of this, product development is the most challenging and at times, slowest parts of developing our brand. But I truly believe, good things take time - and for our customers, hopefully worth the wait!
What’s on your travel list for 2019?
My husband and I are welcoming our first child later this month so travel in 2019 has been closer to home than usual. Earlier this year we visited Hamilton Island in Queensland for some sailing and general relaxation with friends. It was our first time there and we really enjoyed it. I highly recommend lunch on nearby Dent Island - beautiful views, service and food. We’re looking forward to spending a month over summer with family and friends on the beautiful beaches of South Australia - specifically Kangaroo Island (where I grew up and where the Eucalyptus in our Wool & Cashmere Wash is grown) and the Fleurieu Peninsula. In 2020 we’ll be ready to head overseas again I think - perhaps Wanaka in New Zealand for some snow and London to cheer my brother in law on in the marathon.